When I was first asked this question I was not sure. Since I have been plumbing for 22 years now there are times when you stick to the areas that you are good at. And for the most part the big box stores could provide a faster and cheaper service when it came to installing water heaters.
As it was past business hours I could not call the city of Edmonton to find this answer, but I did visit 2 of the big box stores. Here I learned that both of these stores were pulling permits for any replacement water heater that they were installing. Since both stores said the permit was $75 I am guessing that is the permit fee for changing out a water heater.
I am not surprised that they finally came out with this by-law as there have been so many changes with hot water tanks over the years.
I remember it was just 10 years ago when you could buy a hot water tank for under $200!! Then came the first big jump with the sealed combustion chamber. As an open combustion chamber could cause an explosion in a garage or basement around paint cans and other flammable materials it was time to change the design.
About the same time another change came along on the installation side. Instead of using a three inch vent a 40 US gallon hot water tank needed to have a four inch vent.
Then a few years after this another change came along. Now whenever a water heater was installed you needed to change the vent from four inch c-vent to four inch B-vent. B-vent is a double wall venting system. Again this increased the cost of a water heater. Not the hot water tank, but the package of a water heater and installation price.
I believe most companies charge around $1100-$1500 for a new 40 gallon water heater and installation with permits. Last time I checked I found that Lowes in Edmonton South Common was the lowest price.
For all of your other plumbing and gas fitting needs give us a call at Kramer Plumbing and Radiant Heat 780-264-0878